Larry McMurtry and the Victorian Novel
Literary Criticism
5.5 x 8.5, 112 pp.
Pub Date: 12/01/1994
Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities
  cloth
Price:        $22.50 s

978-0-89096-621-1

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Larry McMurtry and the Victorian Novel

By Roger Walton Jones

Millions have read Larry McMurtry's novel, though few conciously understand the subtle underlying themes that charachterize his fiction.

Roger Walton Jones examines McMurtry's lifelong interest in Victorian authors and their influence on his novels. Emphasizing the common sense of dislacement McMurtry shared with the Victorians, Jones identifies three Victoria themes by which McMurtry reconciles the reader to experience and gives his art a religious function: the individual's importance to society; the conflict between civilization and nature in an industrial age; and the attempt to find a basis for spirituality in a world without God or faith in organized religion.

Jones explores these themes as they are played out in all of McMurtry's fiction, paying particular attention to The Last Pciture Show and Lonesome Dove. Unpublished letters and an early, unpublished short story shed light on the interpretation.

In this thought-provoking anaylsis, Jones helps correct the injustice done McMurtry when his work has been ignored or treated with condescension by literary critics charmed by the convolutions of postermodernism. Readers of McMurtry's work, as well as students of Victorian literature, will find Jones's treatment stimulating, insightful, and perhaps unexpectedly positive and will benefit from seeing a new moral and spiritual dimension in the work of one of the most intersting contemporary American authors.

ROGER WALTON JONES received his MA from Southern Illinois University and his PhD from Texas A&M University. He specializes in modern American and British Victorian literature and has written numerous short stories. He is the division chair of the Humanities & Social/Behaviorial Science department at Ranger College and has served as director of the Academic Honors Program.

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